Schizophrenia has distinct symptoms and is usually classified as one of four subtypes. When symptoms abate and the person with schizophrenia no longer experiences psychotic episodes, the condition becomes known as “residual schizophrenia.”
Residual Schizophrenia Symptoms
Residual schizophrenia is dominated by “negative” symptoms, which are characterized by a slowing of mental activity. Typical residual schizophrenia symptoms include a lack of facial expression, avoidance of eye contact and a lack of body language. Collectively, these symptoms are known as a “blunting of affect.”
Residual schizophrenia symptoms may include an overall lack of self-care. Individuals may neglect their hygiene or appearance. Many people living with residual schizophrenia are abnormally passive or lack initiative.
Diagnosing Residual Schizophrenia
In diagnosing schizophrenia, residual type specialists require evidence of a full-blown schizophrenic episode in the past. Actually distinguishing among the residual type, schizophrenia in its full-blown stage and other subtypes can be challenging. Once a person suffering from schizophrenia has a year or more with minimal psychotic symptoms, the diagnosis is likely to become one of residual schizophrenia.
Chronic depression, dementia and a brain injury can all mimic residual schizophrenia symptoms, so these must be ruled out before finalizing the diagnosis.
Treatment for Residual Schizophrenia
An abatement of symptoms does not warrant discontinuing treatment for schizophrenia. Both medication and therapy help control residual schizophrenia symptoms and lower the risk of a second episode of full-blown schizophrenia.
Living with Residual Schizophrenia
Some people living with residual schizophrenia can function well in daily life. In other cases, the symptoms remain severe enough that individuals require supervision and care.
The passage of time, changing circumstances and compliance with treatment may affect people who have residual schizophrenia. Some may experience a full relapse and require hospitalization until treatment reduces symptoms again.
Residual schizophrenia symptoms leave many people socially isolated. Individuals with the condition may be seen as odd, eccentric or socially awkward. The lack of a support system often makes the prognosis even worse.
For reasons that researchers haven’t yet discovered, women have a better residual schizophrenia prognosis than men. How well people functioned prior to the onset of schizophrenia also influences the prognosis for people with residual schizophrenia.
Bengston, M. (2010). Residual schizophrenia. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/residual-schizophrenia/
Mulhauser, G. (2010). Residual schizophrenia diagnostic criteria. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://counsellingresource.com/distress/schizophrenia/icd/residual.html
PSYweb. (n.d.). Schizophrenia (residual type). Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://psyweb.com/Mdisord/SchizoDis/redtype.jsp